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The James Sprunt Historical Publications 


The North Carolina Historical Society 

J. G. ue Roulhac Hamilton I 

Henry McGilbert Wag&taff 


VOL. 10 

No. 1 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick 

Chapel, Hill, N. C. 



Cfje Hifcrarp 

Of the 

Ontoersitp of JBottfi Carolina 

Collection of jRort!) Catoliniana 

V. I 

This BOOK may be kept out ONE MONTH 

unless a recall notice is sent to you. A book 
may be renewed only once; it must be brought 
to the library for renewal. 



The James Sprunt Historical Publications 


The North Carolina Historical Society 

J. G. he Rodlhac Hamilton { j?,.. 
tt M ^ „ r YtLditors 

Henry McGilbert Wagstaff \ 

VOL. 10 No. I 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick 

Chapel Hill, N. C. 

CHAPfiL i (ILL. N. O 


The letters and documents bearing on the Hedrick case have 
been gathered by the author from various sources and are here 
printed with only such editorial additions as seemed necessary 
to preserve the connection and make the story clear. While the 
events narrated are part of the history of the University of 
North Carolina, they also seem to be so illustrative of typical 
Southern conditions in the late fifties as to be of interest to all 
students of the period. 

The author, or more properly, the editor, wishes to make 
grateful acknowledgment of the kindness of Mr. R. D. W. Connor, 
Secretary of the North Carolina Historical Commission, and 
Mr. H. M. Lydenberg, Reference Librarian of the Astor Library, 
in securing material for him. 

Chapel Hill, N. C, December 14th, 1910. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 


One of the greatest evils of the system of American slavery 
was the denial in the South of freedom of speech and of opinion 
in regard to it. As the question entered politics the evil became 
intensified until it was almost unbearable. This violation of one 
of the fundamental principles of American doctrine was indeed 
a late development and was largely the result of outside pres- 
sure. Washington, Jefferson, Clay, and a host of other distin- 
guished sons of Southern States were frank in their opposition 
to the institution. The American Colonization Society had many 
members in the South and emancipation societies for many years 
throve mightily in the midst of slavery. One of these in North 
Carolina had more than thirty branches in various towns with 
a large and quite an influential membership. In North Carolina, 
indeed, considerable opposition was to be expected. Slavery 
was never so profitable there as in the neighboring States and 
the institution never established so firm a hold upon its people. 
The presence, too, of many of the Society of Friends and the 
influence exerted by them also contributed to arouse an active 
opposition. But with the growth of hostile abolition sentiment 
in the North and the consequent attacks upon the South, the 
expression of sentiments inimical to slavery became of rare 
occurrence and North Carolina like the other Southern States 
soon reached the point of refusing to tolerate any utterance of 
anti-slavery opinion. 

After 1850, however, it is apparent that opposition was grow- 
ing. In the main it sprang from the small farmer and working 
man who saw in slavery a bar to progress for himself and his 
children. Thousands of such men left the State for the North- 
west to build their lives anew and to hand down to their children 
an undying hatred of the institution which they regarded as a 
blight upon the land of their nativity. This opposition was not 
based upon moral grounds nor did solicitude for the negro have 

6 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

anything to do with it. The explanation of it was to be found 
only in economic and social conditions springing out of its exist- 
ence. The wrong of slavery was not to the slave, but to the 
non-slaveholder, — to labor generally. 

This anti-slavery sentiment in the State found expression 
in 1857 in Hinton Rowan Helper's Impending Crisis, a most 
remarkable book and one entirely representative of a large 
body of opinion, unorganized, unconscious of its power, but slowly 
coming to a clear conception of the burden which slavery imposed 
upon the South and upon their own class in particular. But 
for John Brown's raid and the rapid progress of the States to 
civil war, North Carolina of the sixties would probably have 
been interesting as the scene of a fierce internal contest over 
slavery with the odds in favor of its gradual emancipation. 

One of the most interesting chapters in this unorganized 
anti-slavery movement is to be found in the case of Benjamin 
Sherwood Hedrick, Professor of Chemistry in the University of 
North Carolina. 

Mr. Hedrick was born near Salisbury, in what is now David- 
son county, but was then a part of Rowan, on February 13, 
1827. He was of German stock, his great-grandfather, Peter 
Hedrick, having come to the State in the German migration from 
Pennsylvania. His father. John Leonard Hedrick, was a farmer 
and builder who by energy and thrift had reached a position 
of prosperity and comfort. His mother was Elizabeth Sherwood. 

After going to school for some years in the neighborhood of 
his home, Hedrick went to Lexington, N. C, where he attended 
a school taught by the Rev. Jesse Rankin. Here he became 
much interested in his work and formed the determination to 
go to college. Entering the sophomore class of the University 
of North Carolina in 1848, he graduated in 1851 with first 
honors. He took an especially high stand in mathematical 
studies and was recommended by President Swain to ex-Gover- 
nor William A. Graham, then Secretary of the Navy, who 
appointed him to a clerkship in the office of the Nautical Al- 
manac. He was stationed at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and took 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 7 

advantage of this opportunity to take advanced work in chemistry 
and mathematics under Horsford and Peirce and also attended 
the lectures of Agassiz. 

In 1852 he was offered a position at Davidson College and 
at the same time President Swain wrote him that he was being 
considered for a new chair at the University. The department 
was Chemistry applied to Agriculture and the Arts. A letter 
to Governor Swain explains his motives in accepting the position. 

B. S. Hedrick to D. L. Swain. 

Cambridge, December 13, 1852. 

My Dear Sir: — 

Yours of the 8th inst. was received this morning, and as you know 
most of the reasons which would induce me either to accept or decline 
the place you have in view, I can answer you in a few words. I am 
writing that you should use my name before the Trustees if they can 
offer a compensation which you believe I ought to acqept. You know 
what they offer me at Davidson. My present employment will prob- 
ably bring me as much money as any offer I have had, and offers as 
wide a field as the ambition of any one need desire. But it has been 
my intention from the first to return to Carolina as soon as I could 
have a fair opportunity. 

As I have never given any time to drawing and the practical parts 
of engineering I think I should not now change my course of study 
as much as would be necessary to qualify myself in these branches. 
1 should prefer to teach Chemistry and Physics — would not object to 
any of the branches of Mathematical Science except those above 

I have not had official notice of my election at Davidson, and am 
in no way committed to them. Though it is probable I shall accept 
there if I do not go to the University. For they seem disposed to do 
the best they can to obtain me, and as a Carolinian I cannot well 
refuse them. Tho' by no means assured that it would be doing the 
best for myself. 

Please let me know the result of the action of the Trustees as 
early as practicable. 

Most respectfully yours, 

B. S. Hedrick. 
Hon. David L. Swain, Raleigh, N. C. 

Mr. Hedrick was brought up in a family and community 
in which anti-slavery feeling was common and his life at the 
North had tended to strengthen his belief that slavery was an 
evil. But when he entered upon his duties in 1854 he took no 
part in the constant discussions of the subject and devoted 

8 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

himself with great success to building up a strong department. 
The campaign of 1856 was one of intense excitement in North 
Carolina and feeling ran high. In politics, Mr. Hedrick had 
always been a Democrat and in the State elections in August 
he voted that ticket. Rumors, however, of his inclination 
towards the new and hated "black" Republican party went 
abroad and on September 17, the following editorial appeared 
in the North Carolina Standard, the organ of the Democratic 
party and easily the most influential paper in the State, whose 
editor, William W. Holden, was the leader of pro-slavery 
and secession sentiment in North Carolina. 


Can it be possible that there are men In the South who prefer 
Fremont for the Presidency, or who would acquiesce in his election? 
The New York Herald boasts that there are already Electoral tickets 
in Virginia, Kentucky, and Maryland; and it adds, "Texas and North 
Carolina will probably soon follow suit." This Is a vile slander on 
the Southern people. No Fremont Electoral ticket can be formed 
in North Carolina — mark that! It may be that there are traitors here 
and there, in this State, as there were tories in the Revolution, who 
would thus deliver up their native land to the fury of the fanatic 
and the torch of the incendiary; but they are few and far between. 
They do not number more than one in one hundred. 

The election of Fremont would inevitably lead to a separation of 
the States. Even if no overt or direct act of dissolution should take 
plaee, he could not carry on the government in the South. No true 
o* decent Southern man would accept office under him; and our 
people would never submit to have their postoflices, custom houses 
and the like, filled with Fremont's Yankee abolitionists. We would 
not expect nor ask the Northern people to submit in a similar case — 
and we will not submit. Suppose, for example, the Southern people, 
harin# the power to elect a President, should nominate a candidate 
on sectional grounds, pledge to wield all the powers of the federal 
government to extend and propagate domestic slavery and pledge 
to measures of gross aggression, without regard to the Constitution, 
o* the rights and property of the Northern people; and suppose they 
should elect such a candidate — what would the North do? They would 
rested it, and they ought to resist it. They would regard It as a 
vital dissolution of the Union, and would act accordingly. The Union 
can neither be administered nor can it pxist on sectional grounds. 

II there be Fremont men among us, let them be silenced or required 
to leave. The expression of black Republican opinions in our midst, 
im tacompatibie with our honor and safety as a people. If at all 
neoeesary, we shall refer to this matter again. Let our schools and 
seminaries of learning be scrutinized; and if black Republicans be 
found In them, let them be driven out. That man is neither a fit nor 
a safe instructor of our young men, who even inclines to Fremont 
and black Republicanism. 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrich. 9 

On September 29th, the Standard published under the sig- 
nature "An Alumnus" the following letter written by John A. 
Engelhard, a law student in the University who had been an 
honor graduate in 1854: 


Messrs. Editors: — We have noticed with pleasure that Southern 
fathers are beginning to feel the necessity of educating their sons 
south of Mason and Dixon's line. The catalogues of Yale and other 
Northern armories of Sharpe's rifles, have but few (shame upon 
those few) Southern names. The importance of emancipating our 
young men from the baneful influences of the North — and no where 
is this Influence more zealously exerted and powerfully felt than in 
Northern colleges and under black Republican teachers — has taken 
firm hold on our people; and we notice, with a high degree of 
gratitude to Bishop Polk, of Louisiana, that the clergy and the church 
are in a fair way of taking concerted measures for more fully bringing 
about an object so much desired.* We have every reason to believe 
that unless the course of the North very materially changes — and we 
are forced to say, we see no immediate chance for such a result — 
there will be inaugurated at the Soutb a system of education congenial 
to our Institutions. 

We are proud of such names as Harvard and Yale; and feel that 
such benefactors of the human race should be held In everlasting 
remembrance by a grateful country. But their laudable objects are 
being frustrated by the fanatics that have obtained possession of the 
government of the schools their charity has founded, for the benefit 
equally of the slave owner and the slave hirer. At the former, the 
South is insulted by the dismissal of an instructor for performing his 
constitutional duty as judge; and at the latter the Southern young men 
see their professors and fellow students, in the name of the college — 
nay, of the very class of which they are memoers — buying religious 
rifles to shoot their own brothers that may be seeking honorable and 
profitable employment in Kansas. These colleges have been turned 
from their legitimate channels and been perverted Into strongholds 
of fanaticism; and from being links of union between all parts 
of our country, have become hot-houses for the nurture of artificial 
statesmen of the Garrisonian school and manufactories of "bleeding 
Kansas" tragedies. 

Then, when our fathers and guardians see such a state of things 
it. is not. to be wondered at that our Southern colleges are so largely 
attended, and Southern seminaries of all grades full to overflowing. 

The cause Is palpable — a determination to free ourselves from 
Northern thraldom and stop the revenue accruing to their abolition 
treasuries from the labor of Southern slaves. It is a praiseworthy 
object; and we glory to see this great reaction in the proportionate 

"This refers to the discussion then going on as to the establishment 
of the University of the South. The plan was carried out and the Uni- 
versity founded at Sewaree, Tennessee. One of the main Ideas of its 
founders, Bishops Polk of Louisiana and Otey of Tennessee, both alumni 
of the University of North Carolina, was that here some practical solu- 
tion of the slavery problem might be worked out. 

10 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

numbers of Northern and Southern schools. 

But the question occurs, are we entirely rid of Northern influence 
in the South? Can North Carolina tell the world that her seminaries 
of learning aie free from tlie corrupting influences of black Republican- 
ism, and Southerners can receive Southern education unmixed with 
instructions hostile to the feelings and opinions their parents have 
instilled into them? Nay, can the Trustees of our State University 
invite pupils to the institution under their charge with the assurance 
that this main stream of education contains no deadly poison at its 
fountain head? Can boys be taken from Northern colleges and trans- 
ferred to our University with perfect security? 

We have been led to these considerations, Messrs. Editors, by an 
article headed "Fremont in the South" in a late issue of the Standard, 
and more particularly the following closing paragraph: 

"If there be Fremont men among us, let them be silenced or required 
to leave. The expression of black Republican opinions in our midst is 
incompatible with our honor and safety as a people. 

"If at all necessary we shall refer to this matter again. Let our 
schools and seminaries of learning be scrutinized; and if black Repub- 
licans be found in them let them be driven out. That man is neither 
a fit nor a safe instructor of our young men, who even inclines to 
Fremont and black Republicanism." We were very much gratified 
to notice this article in your paper at this particular time; for we have 
been reliably informed that a professor at our State University is an 
open and avowed supporter of Fremont, and declares his willingness — 
nay, his desire — to support the black Republican ticket; and the want 
of a Fremont electoral ticket in North Carolina is the only barrier 
to this Southern professor from carrying out his patriotic wishes. Is 
he a fit or safe instructor for our young men? 

If our information be entirely correct in regard to the political 
tendencies and Fremont bias of this professor, ought he not to be 
"required to leave", at least dismissed from a situation where his 
poisonous influence is so powerful, and his teachings so antagonistical 
to the "honor and safety" of the University and the State? Where is 
the creative power? To them we appeal. Have they no restrictive 
clause in the selection of instructors or limiting code in regard to 
their actions? 

If the Trustees or Faculty have no powers in regard to the matter 
in question, we think if a fit object of early legislation at the next 
meeting of our General Assembly. This ought and must be looked to. 
We must have certain security, under existing relations of North 
with South, that at State Universities at least we will have no canker 
worm, preying at the very vitals of Southern institutions. 

Upon what ground can a Southern instructor relying for his sup- 
port upon Southern money, selected to impart healthy instruction to 
the sons of Southern slave owners, and indebted for his situation to 
a Southern State, excuse his support of Fremont, with a platform which 
eschews the lathers of his pupils and the State from whose University he 
received his station and from whose treasury he supports his family? 

Does he tell the young men that he is in favor of a man for the 
Presidency, nominated by men whom their fathers could not nor would 
not sit in Convention with; placed upon a platform hostile to their 
every interest; its separate planks put together by the vilest Southern- 
haters of the North, upon which all the isms of Yankeedom find aid 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 11 

and comfort; whose Cabinet, in the event of his election, would be 
composed of such men as Speaker Bunks, who is willing to "let the 
Union slide;" and Mr. "Niagara" Burlingame, who demands an "anti- 
slavery Bible and an anti-slavery God; " whose orators belch forth 
vile slanders upon the South under hags whose venomous folds reveal 
but sixteen stars, and whose torch-light processions do not "march 
under the flag nor keep step to the music of the Union"? Does he 
read the following extract taken from his candidate's letter accepting 
the nomination: "I am opposed to slavery in the abstract and upon 
principle, sustained and made habitual by long-nettled convictions*' 1 
Are these the doctrines he advocates to young men, two-thirds of 
whose property consists in slaves? 

It cannot be denied by any person cognizant of college influences, 
that each professor has his quota of friends and admirers among 
the students, and their minds are to a certain degree, upon general 
subjects, merely daguerrotypes of his opinions. This is natural. The 
student is young, and the instructors are placed over them, in loco 
parentis, to guide them correctly; and the young graduate leaves with 
opinions moulded by his instructors that will cling to him through life. 

We ask, are we correctly informed concerning the political inclina- 
tion and expressed opinions of this professor? If not, we hope to be 
corrected; and if we are, we call upon the proper authorities to take 
action, for the sake of the prosperity of our Alma Mater and the 
good of the State. 

An Alumnus. 

It was plainly directed at Mr. Hedrick and he was of a 
spirit that could not endure to be attacked without making any 
reply. He considered the matter carefully and, although urged 
to let the matter stand, became convinced that he should answer 
the communication. He accordingly sent his "Defence" to the 
Standard, which on October 4th, published it with this editorial 
comment : 

"As a matter of justice to Mr. Hedrick, we publish today what he 
styles his "Defence" against the charge of being a black Republican. 
There is not a point made or presented in this Defence which could 
not be triumphantly met and exposed; but surely it cannot be expected 
of us, or of our correspondent, "An Alumnus," or any citizen of the 
State, to argue with a black Republican. The Professor closes his 
Defence with the opinion that "those who prefer to denounce" him 
"should at least support their charges with their names." The author 
of "An Alumnus" is a gentleman of high character, and entirely 
responsible for what he has said, or may say. He is a resident of this 
place, and his name can be found out if at all necessary. 

We adhere to our opinion recently expressed in the Standard. The 
expression of black Republican opinions in our midst is incompatible 
with our honor and safety as a people. That man is neither a fit nor 
a safe instructor of our young men, whoever inclines to befriend black 
Repub licanism. 

This is a matter however, for the Trustees of the University. We 
take it for granted that Professor Hedrick will be promptly removed. 

12 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 


Messrs. Editors: — In the last "Standard," I see a communication, 
signed "Alumnus." Although my name is not mentioned therein, still 
i suppose there is little doubt that it was all intended for me. Now, 
politics not being my trade, I feel some hesitation in appearing before 
the public, especially at a time like this, when there seems to be a 
greater desire on the part of those who give direction to public opinion 
to stir up strife and hatred, than to cultivate feelings of respect and 
kindness. But, lest my silence be misinterpreted, I will reply, as 
biiefly as possioie to this, as it appears to me, uncalled-for attack 
on my politics. 

Then, to make the matter short, I say I am in favor of the election 
of Fremont to the Presidency; and these are my reasons for my 

1st. Because I like the man. He was born and educated at the 
South. He has lived at the North and the West, and therefore has an 
opportunity of being acquainted with our people, — an advantage not 
possessed by his competitors. He is known and honored both at home 
and abroad. He has shown his love of his country by unwavering 
devotion to its interests. And whether teaching school for the support 
of his widowed mother, or exploring the wilds of the great West; 
whether enlarging the boundaries of science or acquiring for our 
country the "golden State"; whether establishing a constitution for 
(>iiis youngest daughter of the Union, or occupying a seat in the Senate 
of the Nation, — in every position, and under all circumstances, — 
whether demanding heroic daring or prudent council, he has always 
possessed the courage to undertake, and the wisdom to carry through, 
in reference to the value of his services in California, Mr. Buchanan 
says, "he bore a conspicuous part in the conquest of California, and 
in my opinion is better entitled to be called the conqueror of California 
than any other man." For such services and such ability, I love to 
do him honor. "Platforms" and principles are good enough in their 
places; but for the Presidential chair, the first requisite is the man. 

2nd. Because Fremont is on the right side of the great question 
which now disturbs the public peace. Opposition to slavery extension 
is neither a Northern nor a Southern sectional ism. It originated with 
the great Southern statesmen of the Revolution. Washington, Jeffer- 
son, Patrick Henry, Madison, and Randolph were all opposed to slavery 
in the abstract, and were all opposed to admitting it into new territory. 
One of the early acts of the patriots of the Revolution was to pass the 
ordinance of "87" by which slavery was excluded from all the terri- 
tories we then possessed. This was going farther than the Republicans 
of the present day claim. Many of these great men were slaveholders; 
but they did not let self interest blind them to the evils of the system. 

Jefferson says that slavery exerts an evil influence both on the 
whites and the blacks; but he was opposed to the abolition of slavery, 
by which the slaves would be turned loose among the whites. In his 
autobiography he says: "Nothing is more certainly written in the 
book of fate, than that these people are to be free; nor is it less certain 
that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. 
Nature, habit, opinion, have drawn indelible lines between them." 
Among the evils which he says slavery brings upon the whites, is to 
make them tyrannical and idle. "With the morals of the people their 
industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate no man will labor 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 13 

for himself who can make another labor for him. This is true, that 
of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed, are ever 
seen to labor." What was true in Jefferson's time is true now. I 
might go on and give "Alumnus" every week from now to the election, 
a column of good "black Republican" documents, all written by the 
most eminent Southern statesmen, beginning with Washington, and 
including nearly all of eminence for ability, virtue, and patriotism, 
and coming down to our own times. No longer ago than 1850, Henry 
Clay declared in the Senate — "I never can and never will vote, and 
no earthly power ever will make me vote to spread slavery over terri- 
tory where it does not exist." At the same time that Clay was oppose/ 
to slavery, he was, like Fremont, opposed to the least interference 
by the general government, with slavery in the States where it does 

Should there be any interference with subjects belonging to State 
policy, either by other States or by the federal government, no one 
will be more ready than myself, to defend the "good old North," my 
native State. But with Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Henry, Ran- 
dolph, Clay, and Webster for political teachers, I cannot believe that 
slavery is preferable to freedom, or that slavery extension is one of 
the constitutional rights of the South. If "Alumnus" thinks that 
Calhoun, or any other, was a wiser statesman or better Southerner 
than either Washington or Jefferson, he is welcome to his opinion. I 
shall not attempt to abridge his liberty in the least. But my own 
opinions I will have, whether he is willing to grant me that right of 
every free man or not. I believe that I have had quite as good an 
opportunity as he has to form an opinion on the questions now to be 
settled. And when "Alumnus" talks of "driving me out" for sentiments 
once held by these great men, I cannot help thinking that he Is 
becoming rather fanatical. 

For the information of "Alumnus" I will state that he has put 
himself to unnecessary trouble in blazoning this matter before the 
public. The whole subject belongs exclusively to the jurisdiction of 
the Trustees of the University. They are men of integrity and 
influence, and have at heart the best interests of the University. There 
is no difficulty in bringing this, or any other question relating to the 
Faculty or students, before them. "Alumnus" has also made another 
mistake, in supposing that the Faculty take upon themselves to 
Influence the political opinions of the students. The students come 
to College generally, with their party politics already fixed; and it Is 
exceedingly rare for them to change while here. It has, however, 
been often remarked that a very violent partizan at College, is pretty 
sure to "turn over" before he has left College long. I have been 
connected with our University, as student and Professor, for six years, 
and am free to say that I know no institution, North or South, from 
which partizan politics and sectarian religion are so entirely excluded. 
And yet we are too often attacked by the bigots of both. For my own 
part, I do not know the politics of more than one in a hundred of 
the students, except that I might infer to which party they belonged, 
from a knowledge of the politics of their fathers. And they would 
not have known my own predilections in the present contest, had not 
one of their number asked me which one of the candidates I pre- 
ferred. **!%, S^gft. 

But, if "Alumnus" would understand the state of things here 

14 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

correctly, he had better make a visit to the University. He would 
find each member of the Faculty busy teaching in his own department, 
whether of science or literature; and that party politics is one of the 
branches which we leave the student to study at some other place 
and time. If "Alumnus" does conclude to visit us, there is another 
matter to which I might direct his attention. The two societies here, 
to the one or the other of which all the students belong, have each 
a very good library, and in those libraries are to be found the "com- 
plete works" of many of our great statesmen. 

Now, for fear that the minds of the students may be "poisoned" 
by reading some of these staunch old patriots, would it be well for 
"Alumnus" to exert himself, through the Legislature or otherwise, to 
"drive" them out of the libraries? It is true the works of Calhoun are 
in the same case with those of Jefferson; but from appearances, the 
Virginian seems to be read pretty often, whilst the South Carolinian 
maintains a posture of "masterly inactivity." When I was a student 
in College, a few years ago, the young politicians used to debate in 
the "Halls" of the societies, the same questions which the old politicians 
were debating in the Halls of Congress. The side which opposed slavery 
in the abstract, generally had the books in their favor, and as the 
records of the societies will show, they had quite often "the best of 
the argument." So that when Col. Fremont said that he was "opposed 
to slavery in the abstract and upon principle, sustained and made 
habitual by long-settled convictions," he but uttered the sentiments of 
four-fifths of the best Southern patriots from the Revolution down to 
the present day; and I may add, of the majority of the people among 
whom I was born and educated. Of my neighbors, friends, and kindred, 
nearly one-half left the State since I was old enough to remember. 
Many is the time I have stood by the loaded emigrant wagon, and 
given the parting hand to those whose face I was never to look upon 
again. They were going to seek homes in the free West, knowing, as 
they did, that free and slave labor could not both exist and prosper 
in the same community. If any one thinks that I speak without 
knowledge, let him refer to the last census. He will here find, that 
in 1850, there were fifty-eight thousand native North Carolinians living 
in the free States of the West. Thirty-three thousand in Indiana 
alone. There were, at the same time, one hundred and eighty thousand 
Virginians living in free States. Nov/, if these people were so much 
in love with the "institution" why did they not remain where they 
could enjoy its blessings? It is not, however, my object to attack 
the institution of slavery. But even the most zealous defender of the 
patriarchial institution cannot shut his eyes to a few facts. One is, 
that in nearly all the slave States there is a deficiency of labor. 
Since the abolition of the African slave trade, there is no source for 
obtaining a supply, except from the natural increase. For this reason, 
among others, a gentleman of South Carolina, in an article published 
in BeBow's Review for August, 1856, advocates a dissolution of the 
Union in order that the African slave trade may be revived. From 
North Carolina and Virginia nearly the entire increase of the slave 
population during the last twenty years, has been sent off to the new 
States of the Southwest. In my boyhood I lived on one of the great 
thoroughfares of travel, (near Lock's Bridge on the Yadkin River) and 
have seen as many as two thousand in a single day, going South, 
mostly in the hands of speculators. Now, the loss of these twp 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 15 

thousands did the State a greater injury than would the shipping off of a 
million dollars. I think I may ask any sensible man how we are 
to grow rich and prosper, while "driving out" a million dollars a day. 
I am glad, however, to say that the ruinous policy is not now carried 
on to such an extent as it has been. But there is still too much of 
it. I have very little doubt that if the slaves which are now scattered 
thinly over Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, were back in Virginia 
and North Carolina, it would be better for all concerned. These old 
States could then go on and develop the immense wealth which must 
remain locked for many years to come. Whilst the new States, free 
from a system which degrades white labor, would become a land of 
Common schools, thrift and industry, equal if not superior to any in 
the Union. But letting that be as it may, still no one can deny that 
here in North Carolina we need more men, rather than more land. 
Then why go to war to make more slave States, when we have too 
much territory already, for the force we have to work it? Our 
fathers fought for freedom, and one of the tyrannical acts which 
they threw in the teeth of Great Britian was that she forced slavery 
upon the Colonies against their will. Now, the secessionists are trying 
to dissolve the Union because they are not permitted to establish 
slavery in the Territory of Kansas. If the institution of slavery is a 
good and desirable thing in itself, it is the easiest thing in the 
world for the people to vote for its introduction at any time after 
they have formed a Constitution and been admitted as a State. If it 
is not a thing good and desirable, it would be an act of great oppression 
to force it upon them. For, however any one may lament the evils 
of slavery, it is almost impossible to get rid of the system when once 
Introduced. Nullify it by law if you will, still the evil remains, per- 
haps aggravated. But in a new State a few words in the Constitution 
may prevent the entire evil from entering. 

From my knowledge of the people of North Carolina, I believe 
that the majority of them who will go to Kansas during the next 
five years, would prefer that it should be a free State. I am sure 
that if I were to go there I should vote to exclude slavery. In doing 
so I believe that I should advance the best interest of Kansas, and at 
the same time benefit North Carolina and Virginia, by preventing the 
carrying of slaves who may be more profitably employed at home. 

Born in the "good old North State", I cherish a love for her and 
her people that I bear to no other State or people. It will ever be 
my sincere wish to advance her intrests. I love also the Union of the 
States, secured as it was by the blood of my ancestors; and whatever 
Influence I possess, though small it may be, shall be exerted for its 
preservation. I do not claim infallibility for my opinions. Wiser and 
better men have been mistaken. But holding as I do the doctrines 
once advocated by Washington and Jefferson, I think I should be met 
by argument and not by denunciation. At any rate, those who prefer 
to denounce me should at least support their charges by their own 

B. S. Hedrick. 

Chapel Hill, October 1st, 1856. 

The "Defence" caused such excitement that a meeting of the 
^Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees was called at 

.6 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

jnee to consider the ease. Its proceedings will appear from 
the following letter from the Secretary of the Board of Trustees : 

Charles Manly to David Lowrie 8 wain. 

Raleigh, October 4th, 1856. 

My dear Governor: 

The political essay of Professor Hedrick which appeared in the 
Standard yesterday has given great pain to the Trustees and Friends 
of the University. No apology nor justification has been heard in 
his defence. At the meeting of the Executive Committee today a resolu- 
tion was offered requesting him to resign and in case of refusal to dis- 
miss him peremptorily. 

But other counsels prevailed, the opinions and advice of other 
Trustees here, not members of the Committee, were heard, the reso- 
lution was withdrawn and it was finally agreed unanimously that you 
shall be requested to use your influence in persuading him to resign. 
Indeed, I was requested to go up to the Hill and to co-operate with 
you in bringing about this result. But my health is bad, I have little 
acquaintance with Mr. Hedrick and I can't see what I could do by 

If he has any sensibility or proper self-respect an intimation that 
it is the wish of the Trustees that he shall resign, will be sufficient; 
but if he wishes to be dismissed; that he may fly to Yankeedom as the 
great proscribed: and find refuge in the bosom of Black Republicans 
with the blood of martyrdom streaming from his skirts, then he will 
not resign but will wait to be kicked out. I hope therefore that you 
will put on your Diplomatic Cap and manage this thing right. 

If it were not so painful for me to sit up long and write, I would 
give you a full page on the utter want of tact, good taste, prudence 
and common sense in Hedrick' a writing and publishing such an Essay 
on the eve of a heated political Campaign. 

He is without excuse and is bound to go overboard — but the thing 
la to do this with the least damage to him and with the least noise 
and damage to the Institution. 

Faithfully your friend, 

Chas. Manly. « 

On October 6, the Faculty of the University met to discuss 

the matter. The following is the record of their proceedings : 

University of North Carolina, 

Chapel Hill, Oct. 6, 1856. 

The Faculty met at 12 o'clock, M., under a summons from the Presi- 
dent. Present, Hon. David L. Swain, President; Professors E. Mitchell, 

•Charles Manly was a graduate of the University In the class of 
1814. He was a lawyer by profession and had served one term, 1848 
t» 1850, as governor of the State. He was Secretary and Treasurer 
of the University from 1821 to 1848 and from 1851 to 1869. He died hi 
J 87 J. 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 17 

J. Phillips, M. Fetter, F. M. Hubbard, J. T. Wheat, A. M. Shipp, C. 
Phillips, B. S. Hedrick, A. G. Brown; Instructor, H. Herrissee; Tutors, 
S. Pool, J. B. Lucas, R. H. Battle and W. H. Wetmore. 

The President stated to the Faculty that he felt himself called 
upon to direct their attention to the publication of Prof. Hedrick, in 
the North Carolina Standard of Saturday. Very few remarks, he said, 
will suffice in relation to the present subject. 

In an institution sustained like this, by all denominations and par- 
ties, nothing should be permitted to be done, calculated to disturb 
the harmonious intercourse of those who support and those who 
direct and govern it. And this is well known to have been our policy 
and practice, during a long series of years. Mr. Hedrick's testimony 
that "as student and Professor" he has known "no institution, North 
or South, from which partizan politics and sectarian religion are so 
carefully excluded," will be received with perfect credence by our 
graduates and by all familiar with the state of things among us. 

To secure an end so essential to the reputation, prosperity, and 
usefulness of the University, cautious forbearance has been practiced 
by the Faculty, and enjoined upon the students, in relation to these 
subjects. The sermons, delivered on the Sabbath, in the College 
Chapel, have been confined to an exhibition of the leading doctrines 
of Christianity, with respect to which no difference of opinion exists 
among us; and no student, during the last twenty years, has been 
permitted to discuss upon the public stage any question of party 
politics. This course upon the part of all, has been regarded as not 
merely necessary to internal harmony and quiet — in unison with kind 
feeling and good taste, but as due to numbers of persons of different 
tenets and opinions, who honor us with their attendance upon our 
public exercises, and have a right to respectful consideration. 

On motion of Dr. Mitchell, seconded by Prof. Fetter, the President's 
communications was referred to a committee, consisting of Dr. Mitchell, 
Dr. Phillips and Prof. Hubbard, who reported the following resolutions: 

Resolved. That the course pursued by Prof. Hedrick, as set forth 
in his publication in the North Carolina Standard of the 4th inst, 
is not warranted by our usages; and the political opinions expressed, 
are not those entertained by any other member of this body. 

Resolved, "That wliile we feel bound to declare our pentiments freely 
upon this occasion, we entertain none other than feelings of personal 
respect and kindness for the subject of them; and sincerely regret the 
indiscretion into which he seems, in this instance, to have fallen. 

After a brief discussion, the resolutions were adopted by the fol- 
lowing vote: Ayes — Messrs. Mitchell, Phillips, Fetter, Hubbard, Wheat, 
Shipp, C. Phillips, Brown, Pool, Lucas, Battle, and Wetmore. Nay — 
Mr. Herrissee, who said that he voted in the negative, "simply on the 
ground that the Faculty is neither charged with black Republicanism, 
nor likely to be suspected of it." 

On motion of Dr. Wheat, seconded by Prof. Shipp, the Secretary 
was directed to transmit a copy of the foregoing proceedings of the 
Faculty to the Trustees of the University. 

President Swain forwarded them to Charles Manly with the 
following letter: 

♦Standard, October 11, 1856. 

18 James Sprunt Historical Monograph . 

David L. Swain to Charles Manly. 

Chapel Hill, 6 Oct., 1856. 
My dear Sir: 

You will receive by the present mail, the proceedings of the Faculty 
in relation to the publication of Prof. Hedrick. It seems to me to be 
important that the opinion of the Faculty, on the subject to which the 
proceedings were advanced be placed before the public, without delay, 
and I would have had a copy sent to Mr. Holden at once if I had not 
supposed it would be more respectful to submit that to the Execu- 
tive Committee in the first action. 

If a meeting of the Committee cannot be had immediately or 
whether it can or cannot, you may if you deem it proper send them to 
the Editor of the Standard forthwith. 

I somewhat feared an outbreak on the receipt of the Standard, 
condemning Prof. Hediick's communication, and there was a noisy 
demonstration on Saturday night. It did not amount to much, how- 
ever. I addressed the whole body of students on the subject Sunday 
morning and have reason to suppose that things will go on quietly. 
I perceive no symptoms of excitement at present. 

Yours very sincerely, 

D. L. Swain. 

Gov. Manly. 

The resolutions were published in the Standard, which com- 
mented as follows: 

Proceedings of (he Faculty of the Unive •&■*)* 

We publish today, by request of the Faculty and the Executive Com- 
mittee of the Board of Trstees, the proceedings of the Faculty in rela- 
tion to Mr. Hedrick. 

It is unquestionably true, as stated by Mr. Herrissee, that the 
"Faculty is neither ehaiged with black Republicanism nor likely to 
be suspected of it," — yet, it seems to us, they have adopted a course 
in this matter which is entirely proper, and which must receive general 
public approval. 

It was natural that the conduct of Mr. Hedrick should excite 
anxiety in the minds of the President and Faculty; and in promptly 
repudiating both his conduct and his dangerous and unconstitutional 
poMtical opinions, they have not only guarded themselves in advance 
against the remotest suspicion of sympathizing with him in his 
views, but they have shown themselves faithful to the people of the 
State, whose University is their immediate charge, and have met, we 
doubt not, the expectations, as their proceedings will receive the 
unanimous approval of the Board of Trustees. 

Gov. Swain, in his communication to the Faculty, has stated noth- 
ing more nor less than the truth of history, in relation to the Uni- 
versity and partizan politics and sectarian religion. The institution 
has habitually avoided both; and herein has it found one of the main 
elements of its prosperity and constantly increasing usefulness. 

Nothing remains now but to cut off, if it should be necessary, the 

•Standard, October 11, 1856. 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 19 

offending member. Mr. Hedrick, it seems, was present at the meeting 
of the Faculty on the 6th; and it is not stated that he withdrew from 
the meeting. Almost anyone, it seems to us, would have resigned at 
once; but either he does not appreciate the delicacy of his situation, 
or he is waiting to be dismissed, so that he may become "a Hon" at 
Cambridge, or in some other black Republican circle. It is obvious 
that his usefulness as a Professor in our University, is gone; and 
the sooner he leaves it, or is discharged from it, the better for the 
institution itself and for the character of the State. 

We learn from a young friend at Chapel Hill, that on Saturday 
night last Mr. Hedrick was burnt in effigy in the College Campus, and 
the bell was tolled until the effigy was consumed. Much indignation 
was excited on the receipt of the Standard containing his letter. We 
learn from the friend referred to, that Mr. Hedrick was of the opinion 
that we had some agency in this — that we urged the students to this 
course, furnished the materials for the effigy, etc. Nothing could be 
more unfounded than this imputation. We have had no communica- 
tion with anyone in Chapel Hill, or elsewhere, in relation to Mr. 
Hedrick's conduct. We brought the charge against him of treason 
to his section and to the Constitution; and we published his "Defence". 
Our motto is, "Strike, but hear." His "Defence," though ingenious, 
impudent, and highly objectionable, is not seditious; and so as we 
had brought the charge against him, we allowed him a hearing. In 
this we did right. Yet, though all his arguments might have been 
easily answered, and all his Freesoil views dissipated by the touch 
of truth, we offered no reply, because we do not choose to argue with 
a black Republican. We argue with no man who proposes to degrade 
us, or who approaches us with hostile intent and deadly weapon. 
That is the reason we made no reply to Mr. Hedrick. But we studi- 
ously refrained from uttering anything calculated to excite the stu- 
dents against him; and we regret that they burnt him in effigy. We 
sympathize with them in their very natural and very just feelings 
of indignation; yet they are under authority now, as they may expect 
to be in authority hereafter, as men; and it is highly important that 
order and decorum should be preserved at the University. Besides, 
any violence which may be offered to Mr. Hedrick— every act, holding 
him up to public scorn, will only tend to his advantage and advance- 
ment among his black Republican associates of the free States. Let no 
young gentleman in the University conclude, for a moment, that we 
are attempting n li-Hitr?.. That is neither our province nor our duty. 
We are only uttering our honest views as to the proper course to be 
observed. Let the Professor be, he feels acutely enough his indiscre- 
tion, his sin, without hisses and effigies. We feel confident, and so 
assure the students, that the Executive Committee will perform, their 
whole duty. The stain will be wiped out — the University will not be 
injured, and peace and good feeling will be speedily restored. 

The same day Mr. Hedrick wrote to Governor Bragg in 
explanation of the whole matter. 

B. S. Hedrick to Thomas Bragg. 

Chapel Hill, Oct. 6, 1856. 
Dear Sir: — 

As the course which I have taken in publishing the letter which 

20 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

appeared in the Standard of the 4th' inst. may appear to some, 
extraordinary, I hope a simple statement of the reasons which have 
induced me to take this step will be kindly received. 

At the State election in August I went to the polls to give my 
vote. One of the students (Mr. Cozart) was in the window at which 
the votes were taken, and over-looked my vote as I handed it in. 
Seeing it to agree with his own opinions in Politics (Democratic) he 
remarked "that is alright." While leaving the place of voting I was 
met by several students, who began to question me as to how I had 
voted, how I should vote for President, etc. I told them that I did 
not know that I should vote for President at all. One asked whether 
if there were a Fremont ticket I would support it. I said I would. 
Another (Mr. Mullens) asked whether in case the South were attacked 
by the North I would support the North. I said, no, I am of the 
South and for the South, that against any force from without the 
South woidd Vie a unit. About this time ;i returned Mexican volun- 
teer came up, (he had been drinking evidently) and began to talk 
pretty loud. He said that it' the rich folks got into a war about the 
negroes they might fight it out themselves. That when he volunteered 
to go to Mexico, a good many such men put their names down, and 
then took them off as soon as the Company was made up. 

I replied that such might have been the case in some instances 
but that I thought that all classes did their part well in Mexico. I 
mention these circumstances because a report was put into circulation 
here a few days afterwards, that I had advocuted abolition doctrine'', 
that I had made a speech to the poor classes of citizens to inflame 
them against the rich, etc. As soon as I heard of this report I 
straightened it out as well as I could, and had it contradicted. Gov. 
Manly seems to have heard something of the kind, and perhaps others 
in Raleigh. Dr. Jones said that he would write to Gov. M. about it, 
and I asked him to say, that if his (Dr. J.'s) statement were not 
sufficient I would write Gov. M. a letter which he could use as he 
thought proper. After this the whole subject seemed to have been 
forgotten, until about three weeks ago when the Standard's first 
editorial on the subject appeared, and even that was little noticed, 
although I heard a student remark that it was directed at me. I 
had supposed it would go no farther until a week ago, the statement 
signed "An Alumnus" appealed. From the spirit manifested in that 
article I thought the Staudat d was bent on agitation, and as rumor 
would be busy with her thousand tongues, it would be better, and more 
honest to come out openly and avow my sentiments. That would at 
least prevent misrepresentation, and as I gave the reasons for my 
opinions, the reading public would only judge of their soundness. 

I have not at any time endeavored to make converts to my doc- 
trines among the students. Soon after the election I spoke to two 
of them (Mr. Cozart find Mr. Mullens) but only in answer to the 
question how as a Southerner I could oppose the extension of slavery 
into Kansas. There had been no excitement in College in relation to 
the matter until last Saturday night, and that was confined to a very 
small number of students. For about an hour and a half there were 
a good many students in the Campus, but soon after eleven o'clock 
they dispersed without any interference on the part of the Faculty. 
From various circumstances it is suspected that the preparations for 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 21 

this "spontaneous" demonstration were sent up from Raleigh. 

The opinion most current here is that the writer of the article 
signed "Alumnus" is Mr. Engelhardt of Raleigh. But I have no certain 
knowledge that he was the writer. At present the usual quiet prevails 
in College. In fact only a small part of the students have seen my 
article as there are but few copies of the Semi-Weekly Standard taken 
here. >■ * f% M 

I have no means of knowing in what light this matter will be 
viewed by the Trustees. But as it is an important one, to me at least, 
I hope they will give it a careful consideration before coming to a 
decision. I cannot see that my letter to the Standard involves in any 
way the opinions of other members of the Faculty, at least it should 

Very respectfully your obedient servant, 

B. S. Hedbick. 
His Excellency Thomas Bragg, 

Gov. of State of North Carolina, Raleigh, N. C, 
President of the Board of Trustees of the University. 
The matter by this time was one in which the whole state 
was interested and demands for Mr. Hedrick 's resignation were 
general. Typical examples of these follow: 


At a meeting of the citizens of Murfreesborough, N. C, on Monday, 
the 6th October, the following preamble and resolutions were unani- 
mously adopted: 

Whereas, We believe that a crisis in the history of our country is 
upon us, when it becomes the imperative duty of every patriot and 
friend of the University to be vigilant and watchful for the preserva- 
tion of its integrity — and when we believe that "expressions favorable 
to black Republicanism in our midst, are incompatible with our honor 
and our safety as a people," and 

Whereas, Principles and opinions subversive of and inimical to 
the true interests of our rights as a people are known to be entertained 
by Hedrick, a Professor in the University of North Carolina, and 

Whereas, The said Hedrick has sought to give notoriety to the 
same, by a letter written by him, and published through the press, 
and believing, as we do, that such sentiments are deserving of the 
sternest rebuke and should meet with the honest indignation of every 
Union loving man, therefore, be it unanimously. 

Resolved, That we, as citizens of Hertford county, in N. C, having 
sons for education at the University, feeling a deep interest in all that 
pertains to its welfare, feel it to be our imperative duty to express 
our opinions in regard to the course of the said Hedrick and of 
promptly denouncing the same. 

Resolved, 2nd, That we believe that our safety requires that any one 
who is living in our midst, and known to entertain opinions and prin- 
ciples dangerous to our institutions, should be held up to the scorn 
and indignation of all parties and friends of the Union. 

•Standard, October 11, 1856. 

22 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

Resolved, 3rd, That the foregoing preamble and resolutions be 
published in the "Murfreesborough Gazette," and the "North Caro- 
lina Standard" and 'Raleigh Signal" be requested to copy the same. 
Mr. Hedrick of the University. 

To the Editors of the Standard: 

Gentlemen: — I read with astonishment and regret, in your paper 
of Saturday last, what was called "Prof. Hedrick's Defence." Aston- 
ishment and regret that a man who calls himself a Professor of the 
University, should so undervalue the reputation and interest of that 
institution as to advertise himself the advocate of the sentiments he 
avows, filling the station he does. These sentiments, avowed by one 
of the professors, will sink the institution— now grown to giant 
size, and still increasing — unless the Trustees forthwith expel that 
traitor to all Southern interests from the seat he now so unworthily 
fills. He should be ordered away as a foul stain upon the escutcheon 
of the University, to show to the country that the institution is 
a sanctuary from such vile pollutions. It is the business of the 
Executive Committee to act in his case, and to act promptly; and 
from the high character of the gentlemen who compose it, a good 
result may be expected. If this man must prattle treason, let him 
do it ineffectually, not as the agent of the Trustees, as he now is. 

The Trustees of the University consist of sixty gentlemen, dis- 
persed all over the State; and they are thus dispersed that they may 
have a wider range in advancing its interests. They have been 
selected by the General Assembly to manage the affairs of that institu- 
tion, out of regard for their own high characters for learning, probity, 
and sound discretion; and the history of the University abundantly 
testifies to their success. And the Executive Committee have full 
power to transact all business of the Board of Trustees in their 
absence or recess. Be it said, however, as due to truth, and to the 
great credit of the Trustees, they have raised that institution from 
a poor estate to a high position; they have witnessed, under their 
superintending and anxious care, the education of some of the 
greatest men in the nation; and they see daily its benefits increasing, 
until it has become the great literary institution of the South, number- 
ing upwards of four hundred students, sent by their friends to the 
guardianship of the Trustees and faculty. It is not, therefore, to 
be expected that the Trustees will fail to do their duty. 

My name, if desired, will be given to Mr. Hedrick, who I do not 
dignify with the appellation of Professor, and who as a Trustee 1 
repudiate, in the beginning of the great harm he has set out ungrate- 
fully to do that institution — his Alma Mater. 

A Trustee of the University. 
The Executive Committee met again on October 11. The 
following is the record of the meeting: 

The Executive Committee met. Present: His Excellency, Gov. 
Gov. Bragg. 1 President; J. H. Bryan, 2 D. W. Courts. 3 C. L. Hinton,-" Ej. 
F. Moore, 5 R. M. Saunders/' 

1. Thomas Bragg was born in 1810 and educated in Middletown, 
Conn. He practiced law with great success in North Carolina and was 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 23 

The President laid before the Committee a political essay of Prof. 
B. S. Hedrick, published in the North Carolina Standard of the 4th 
instant together with sundry letters and papers relating thereto, 

Resolned, That the Executive Committee have seen with great 
regret the publication of Prof. Hedrick in the Standard of the 4th 
inst., because it violates the established usage of the University which 
forbids any Professor to become an agitator in the exciting politics 
of the day; and is well calculated to injure the prosperity and use- 
fulness of the Institution. 

Resolved, That the prompt action of a majority of the Faculty 
of the University on the 6th inst., meets with the cordial approbation 
of this Committee. 

Resolved, That in the opinion of this Committee Mr. Hedrick has 
greatly, if not entirely destroyed his power to be of further benefit 
to the University in the Office which he now fills. 

Committee adjourned. 

also a member of the legislature for a number of terms. In 1854 he was 
elected governor and was re-elected in 1S56. At the expiration of his 
term he was elected to the United States Senate where he served until 
the outbreak of the civil war. Me was Attorney General of the Con- 
federacy for a short time, resigning to return to the State. He died 
in 1872. 

2. John H. Bryan was a prominent lawyer who had served in the 
legislature and had been a member of Congress for several terms. 

3. Daniel W. Courts was a native of Virginia who was educated 
at the University of North Carolina, graduating in 1823. He had been 
a member of both houses of the State legislature, Consul to Matanzas, 
and was at this time State Treasurer. This office he had filled from 
1830 to 1839, was re-elected in 1850 and served until 1862. 

4. Charles L. Hinton graduated at the University of North Carolina 
in 1814. He served in both houses of the State Legislature and was 
State Treasurer from 1839 to 1850. He had also been secretary to 
the Board of Trustees of the University from 1847 to 1851. . 

5. Bartholomew Figures Moore was born in 1801 and graduated from 
the University of North Carolina in 1820. He had served frequently 
in the State Legislature and had been Attorney General of the State. 
He was one of the ablest members of the bar of the State and was of 
eminent character. He was one of the commissioners to revise the 
statute laws of the State. In 1S61 he was opposed to secession and 
remained so throughout the war. He was the leading member of the 
convention of 1865-1866 and was one of the commission appointed to 
revise the statutes in regard to persons of color. This was done with a 
full recognition of the citizenship of the freedmen. He died in 1878. 

6. Romulus M. Saunders was born in 1791. He was a student at the 
University for two years when he was expelled. He studied law under 
Hugh L. White of Tennessee and was admitted to the bar in that State. 
Returning to North Carolina he entered political life and was many times 
a member of the Legislature and was twice speaker of the House of Com- 
mons. He served in Congress from 1821 to 1827 and from 1841 to 1845. 
In 1828 he was elected Attorney General, in 1833 United States Commis- 
sioner on the French Spoilation Claims, in 1835 Judge of the Superior 
Courts, and in 1840 was the Democratic candidate for governor but was 
defeated. From 1846 to 1850 he was minister to Spain but resigned and 
returning to the State was elected to the House in 1850 and was by that 
legislature elected a Superior Court Judge, which position he filled until 
his death in 1867. He was a man of intense prejudices in whom political 
considerations were always of highest importance. He had the reputation 
In the State of being a candidate for every vacant office. 

These resolutions were sent to the University to be laid before 
the Faculty but were not published. 

The students of the University were much aroused and in 

24 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

spite of the popularity which Mr. Hedrick had enjoyed made 
constant demonstrations against him. If no action had been 
taken elsewhere, it is scarcely to be doubted that they would 
have forced his resignition, so thoroughly were they excited. 

The Northern press naturally did not allow so striking an 
incident to escape them. The following are examples of editorial 
comment : 

Editorial in N. Y. Times, Tuesday. October 14, 1856. 

able letter that has been elicited by the present extraordinary politi- 
cal struggle is that of Professor Hedrick, of the University of North 
Carolina, which will be found elsewhere in our columns this morn- 
ing. Professor Kedrick (sic) is a native of the State, and full of 
affection for the land of his birth; but he is thoroughly imbued 
with Republican sentiments, boldly avows his preference for Fre- 
mont, and appeals to Washington, Jefferson, Clay, and the honored 
fathers of the Republic, as the authors of the faith that is in him. 
There are a good many important facts in his letter, which will be 
read with profit at the North, as well as in the South. We have no 
doubt of there being thousands of similar men in the Southern 
states, who only lack an opportunity to proclaim their sentiments as 
boldly as this noble-minded patriot scholar has done, and his cour- 
ageous example will not lack for followers. It is more than probable 
that the bold avowal of Republican sentiments by Professor Kedrick 
{sic) will cost him his professional chair in the University of North 
Carolina; and yet it seems scarcely credible that the Old North State 
will banish one of her own sons for avowing himself a disciple of 
Washington and Jefferson. 

The letter of Professor Hedrick in the Times is introduced by 

the following paragraph : 

Prof. B. S. Hedrick of the State University of North Carolina, 
has pronounced in favor of Fremont, and in consequence of that act 
has raised up bitter enemies, who denounce himself fiercely, and go 
so far as to demand his expulsion from the College, on the ground 
that his opinions render him unfit to be an instructor of youth. The 
Raleigh Standard (Buchanan) publishes a letter from the Professor, 
which is styled a "Defence" against certain articles in that paper 
over the signature of "Alumnus." The letter gives a new view 
of the practical workings of Slavery. It is introduced by the Stand- 
ard in the following manner: * * * [Here follows the. Defence.] 
Editorial in Tribune of Tuesday, October 14, 1856. 

Notwithstanding the depotic rule of Jacobinical terrorism which 
Just now holds fourteen states of this Union in the most abject servi- 
tude, it is not to be supposed that the fire of Liberty is entirely shut 
out at the South, or that the self-constituted thirty tyrants — be the 
number more or less — by which each one of those unhappy states 
Is now governed, can long maintain their usurped authority. It 
ia not credible that Washington, Henry, Jefferson, Madison, and the 
other patriots of the Revolution, can have left no descendants behind 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 25 

them. We speak not now of inheritors of their blood, but of inheri- 
tors of their sentiments, their ardent love of Liberty for others as 
well as for themselves, and their sincere faith in the rights of man. 
Though silenced for the moment by the furious and bloodthirsty 
clamor for the perpetuation and extension of Slavery, and for the 
dissolution of the Union as a meaus to promote those ends — a means 
as hateful as the ends to which it is to serve are detestable — it is 
impossible that there should not be at the South a strong cohort 
of those who do not bow the knee to the Baal of Slavery, and who 
are wistfully watching for the restoration of the true and ancient 
worship of their fathers. 

We in the North had, twenty years ago, a considerable dash of 
the same storm of insolent violence which comes down now with 
such tropical fury through the South — so heavy that scarce a friend 
of Freedom and Emancipation dares anywhere to show his head. 
We too had our mobs and self-constituted committees, which assailed 
the liberty of press and of speech, and which threatened and some- 
times visited with personal violence those who ventured to avow 
opinions on the subject of Slavery not deemed orthodox. That at- 
tempt to suppress the freedom of opinion, though backed up by per- 
sons occupying the highest social and political positions — such as 
Edward Everett, for example, who, as Governor of Massachusetts, 
recommended legislative enactments to sustain it — proved a total 
failure; and many who at that time sympathized and even parti- 
cipated in it are now among the most strenuous opponents of any 
further concessions to the Slave Power. 

It is true that this attempted usurpation never reached, here at 
the North, anything like the hight (sic) of violence to which it has 
lately been carried in the Slave States. We have no recollection of 
any attempt ever made here to prevent the nomination and support 
of a Presidential ticket. In the midst of all the excitement of the 
Harrison campaign, the Liberty party, so called, was permitted freely 
to nominate and support a ticket of their own; and so afterward, in 
the great struggle between Clay and Polk, on which occasion the few 
thousand votes in this State drawn off from Clay by the Abolitionists 
gave New York to the Democratic party and secured the election of 
Polk. But if the friends of free political action in the South have a 
greater ferocity on the part of their opponents to encounter, so they 
must be supposed to have a much greater strength in themselves, 
both in regard to numbers and social position, than ever was the case 
with those here at the North who were made the objects of a similar 
violence. And they have, beside, another great advantage, in a 
powerful outside support. With the whole power of the Federal 
Government to sustain them in the vindication and exercise of their 
rights, in addition to the sympathy of the entire North, it is evident 
that they occupy an impregnable position; and the greater and more 
savage and depotic the violence which is now brought to bear upon 
them, the more speedy and decisive the reaction may be expected to 
be. He who contrasts the present political position of the North 
on the subject of Slavery with what it was twenty years ago, may find 
reasonable ground for anticipating that before many years Maryland, 
Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and other slave-holding states 
will revert again to the views of Washington and Jefferson, and instead 

26 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

of throwing their whole political weight in favor of the extension of 
slavery into new Territories from which it has once been formally 
and solemnly excluded, will rather be inviting the aid and co-opera- 
tion of the North, in some scheme by which, with due regard to the 
rights and interests of all parties, those states, instead of giving new 
extension to this curse, may be able to rid themselves of it. 

That such ideas are not yet totally extinct at the South, that the 
crows have not yet succeeded in devouring all the good seed sown 
by the patriots of the Revolution, nor the great enemy of mankind 
in sowing tares enough entirely to choke out the wheat, is evident 
from a letter which we publish today, in which one of the professors 
of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill responds to an 
attack upon him by a Buchanan journal of that State as a Black Repub- 
lican. If very few persons at the South have at this moment the in- 
trepidity to confess, as Professor Hedrick does, their views on the 
subject of Slavery, it cannot be doubted that a large part of the best 
educated, most intelligent and most patriotic even of the slaveholders 
themselves fully sympathize with those views — a body of men to 
whom, in spite of the storm of Pro-Slavery fanaticism which now 
sweeps over the slaveholding states, we may look with hope for the 
return of those states to a better condition of intelligence and feeling, 
and for their ultimate deliverance from that terrible nightmare which 
hold them now in such a state at once of convulsive terror and 
paralytic helplessness. 

The following correspondence is self-explanatory: 
David L. Swain to Charles Manly. 

Chapel Hill, 7 Oct., 1856. 

My dear Sir: — Your note of the 4th by some oversight at the post- 
offlee did not reach me until yesterday morning and this morning 
brought me that of the 6th with Judge Saunders letter enclosed. 

Hedrick has the courage ot a lion and the obstinacy of a mule. 
He can neither be frightened, coaxed nor persuaded in anything. 
He rarely asks advice and never follows it. He consulted me as 
to the propriety of replying to Alumnus, and entered into the contest 
in opposition to the most earnest remonstrances. He communicated 
his determination to reply and exhibited his reply itself to no one but 
his wife. He will sit in his tracks without moving a muscle, and I am 
not stire he does not covet the crown of martyrdom. Has the Execu- 
tive Committee the power of demotion? It has, if it can be conferred 
by ordinance. But can the Board delegate the power of appointment 
and removal to a committee? If it can, is decapitation expedient? 
"If twere well when done, twere well, twere done quickly." As the 
call was not taken at the first hop, will it not be better, to bring 
the resolutions of the Faculty to bear upon him at the present, and 
postpone the exercise of supreme authority, until the election ia over, 
and the Board in session? 

If you award the crown of martyrdom, immediately, and Col. 
Fremont succeeds in the election, you make his fortune. He under- 
stands this too well to think for a moment of resignation. Sparing 
him at present will give the Freesoilers new strength at the South, 
while the charge of persecutions for opinion's sake, will add to the 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick 27 

tempest of excitement which is sweeping over the North. If you 
proceed to extremes, at once, I would avoid a political issue, and 
second the action taken by the Faculty, and approved by the Trustees, 
in the Arch-Bishop case — a violation of the usages of the institution, 
not as a freesoiler, but as a partizan. 

The accompanying correspondence, you may show to Judge Saun- 
ders, to remind him of my arraignment before the Board of Trustees, 
l>y our friend, John 1). Hawkins, twenty years ago, i'or permitting the 
late Perrin Busbee to advocate a dissolution of the Union on the 
public stage. In the mutation of parties, no one knows when and 
what issues may arise, and freedom of speech on religious and 
political matters, must be restrained, if restrained at all, very skil- 

The boys exhibited transparencies, hung and burnt in effigy Sat- 
urday night and again last night, but the affair was neither very 
noisy nor tempestuous, and the Faculty gave themselves no great 
trouble about it. Unless excited by foreign influences, I do not 
apprehend serious commotion. 

Herrinsee was, as I remember, permitted by the Secretary to append 
some remarks to his reason. He is a great" admirer of Hedrick, and 
has I fear written something foolish or worse. If so, and you publish, 
as the appendage ought not to be read, strike it out, and suffer him 
to illuminate the benighted world in a separate article. If you 
think proper to do so, you may publish a history of the proceedings 
of the Faculty, in such a manner as you think most advisable without 
confining yourself to the record. 

Let me know from day to day any thing that may be necessary to 
enlightened voters. 

Yours sincerely, 

D. L. Swain. 
David L. Swain to Charles Manly. 

Chapel Hill, 7 Oct., 1856. 

My Dear Sir: — 

If there were not much better lawyers members of the Executive 
Committee than I am, I might be tempted to enter upon an analysis 
of the Charter and subsequent acts of the General Assembly in re- 
lation to the University and endeavor to show that the Committee 
has no power to remove a Professor. As it is, upon the presump- 
tion that "the sparrow may perceive what the eagle overlooks," I 
may be pardoned for a few observations and inquiries. 

The Executive Committee exists under an ordinance of the Trus- 
tees adopted 2nd January, 1858, consists of seven members of whom 
the Governor is one ex-officio, but not necessarily Chairman. I was 
President of the Board when the Committee first organized and de- 
clined the chair because I considered it incongruous for the Chair- 
man of the Committee to rise at the annual meeting to present the 
report of the Committee to himself as President of the Board. Judge 
Cameron was the first Chairman and was succeeded by Gov. Dudley. 
The Executive Committee is a committee of seven clothed with exten- 
sive powers, but it is a committee simply, and not the Board of Trustees. 

28 James Sprunt Historical Monograph 

What are the powers of the Board in the Premises? By the 3rd 
section of the Charter (U. R. V. 426) the Trustees at a special meeting 
may "do any business except the appointment of a president, profes- 
sor, etc. 

The 7th section provides "that the Trustees shall have the power 
of appointing a president of the University and such professors and 
tutors as to them shall appear necessary and proper, whom they may 
remove for misbehaviour, inability, or neglect of duty." By the act 
of 1807 of 4ol, it is competent lor seven Trustees to hold an annual 
meeting and appoint "a president pro-tempore, in case of the death, 
resignation, absence, or indisposition of the Governor." 

The Board then at an annual meeting may appoint a professor, and 
the Board may remove him "for misbehaviour, inability, or neglect 
of duty." 

Ordinarily the power of appointment and demotion are the same. 
The power of the President to remove an officer appointed by and with 
the consent of the Senate without the consent of the Senate, if it 
were res integrae, would be more than questionable. 

The General Assembly has given no power of demotion to the 
Committee, but to a Board of Trustees particularly constituted and 
authorized to punish for specific causes, or set aside for inability. 

If the Executive Committee have the power, they may dismiss 
"any professor or tutor for such cause as they deem sufficient" though 
he may have been appointed but ten days before at an annual meet- 
ing by the unanimous vote of a full Board of Trustees (65) and 
though but four members of the committee, may be in attendance, 
of whom the Governor need not be one. Can it be that the power 
is legitimately vested in these persons? 

If the power is regarded as unquestionable, it seems to me the 
exercise of it may be forborne for many reasons when an annual meet- 
ing of the Board is so near at hand. 

The occasion does not include the President of the University and as 
a Trustee, I may discuss this in common with all the questions in 
relation to the general concern of the institution with the same freedom 
as other members of the Board. I am moreover willing to be tried 
before the Executive Committee and will not plead to the jurisdic- 
tion of any tribunal organized under their auspices. I think more- 
over that it is exceedingly desirable that a committee should come 
up, examine the records and look narrowly into my department. 1 
am satisfied that such an investigation will be of great benefit, and 
especially tend to strengthen my hands. 

I have just received your kind note of yesterday and again tender 
my thanks for your repeated acts of kindness which I hope never 
to be able to repay because I hope it will never be your fortune to 
encounter such an ingrate. If it shall, I will be with you to the 
death. Dr. Mitchell has not yet returned. The New York Times pub- 
lished Hedrick's defence in extenao and pronounces it the most extra- 
ordinary letter that this excited contest has called forth and well 
calculated to interest and instruct, both at the North and the South. 
The Tribune of the same date (Tuesday) also contains it, with half 
a column of commentary. 

A professor must be removed not arbitarily or capriciously for 
mere difference of opinion, in religion or politics, which the Com- 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick 29 

mittee may deem sufficient, but for "misbehaviour, inability, or neglect 
of duty." Hedrick may be very properly arraigned for misbehaviour 
in departing from our established usages, and this should be the 
only count in the impeachment. 

Yours very sincerely, 

D. L. Swain. 
Gov. Manly. \ 

B. S. Hedrick to Charles Manly. 

Chapel Hill, Oct. S, 1856. 

Gov. Manly: 

Dear Sir: — I wrote to Gov. Bragg day before yesterday. Mentioned 
to him a conversation which I had with Dr. Jones of this place a short 
time after you were here. Dr. Jones had stated to another friend of 
mine that a report was in circulation which would injure me. I 
therefore called to see him about it. I found that the report alluded 
to was a very exaggerated statement of what I had said at a certain 
time. I frankly told Dr. Jones what my views of the subject in ques- 
tion were, and contracted* what had given offence to some of my 
neighbors. I also learned from Dr. Jones that you had heard the same 
report which had attracted his attention. Dr. Jones said that he 
intended to write to you in a few days, and that he would mention 
the matter to you. I also asked him to say to you if what he (Dr. 
Jones) had said were not sufficient, I would write you a letter which 
you might use as you thought proper. 

I supposed that Dr. Jones had written, until yesterday, when I 
met him and asked him about it. He said the matter had slipped 
his memory at the time, and that afterward the whole subject seemed 
to have been forgotten and it never occurred to him again. He said 
however that he remembered perfectly well what I said to him about 
It. So that if Gov. Bragg mentions this part of my letter to you, if 
you think necessary, please give the explanation above. 

I have written this for fear a misapprehension might arise. 
Yours respectfully and ti'uly, 

B. S. Hedbick. 

Charles Manly to David Lowrie Swain. 

Raleigh, Oct. 8, 1856. 

My dear Governor: 

I received yesterday your note and a copy of the Faculty's proceed- 
ings in relation to Prof. Hedrick. Upon consultation with Gov. 
Bragg and Messrs. Courts and Bryan, all that relating to Bishop 
Hughes was expunged and the residue sent to the Standard for pub- 

The Governor also handed me a letter which he had received from 
Hedrick in explanation and exculpation of himself and letting him 
know that he was a good Democrat and had voted the Democratic 
ticket in August last. 

30 James Sprunt Historical Monograph 

Your suggestions are good and were approved by those gentlemen 
above named. Nothing will be done with him till after the election. 
If he does not resign the Board will take him up next winter and 
cut his head "clean off" but so as not to suffer the blood of martyrdom 
for opinion's sake to decorate and adorn his garments. 

He will be driven off as unworthy to hold an office in an institu- 
tion whose usages and practices he has so grossly and injuriously 

The Executive Committee will meet again on Saturday next 
(11th) by which time I shall hope to have the Faculty's answer to 
the "Red Republican" and the copy of the Journal which he complains 
of. I am, Dear Sir, 

Very truly yours, 

Chas. Manly. 

Dr. Wheat has withdrawn his notice of resignation, but I suppose 
you know that, of course. 

There is a report on the street that the students intend to tar and 
feather Hedrick. I hope and trust they will do no such thing. Their 
indignation meetings, burning in effigy, etc., is a sufficient demonstra- 
tion. It would be dishonorable and cowardly to do him personal vio- 
lence. It would be undignified and disgraceful to get up a College 
row and tumult. They would thereby injure themselves and no one 

Mr. Hedrick, as has been seen from his "Defence", was not 
the sort of man to allow matters to drift without an effort to 
save himself. The following able letter shows clearly his point 
of view and its soundness: 

B. S. Hedrick to Charles Manly. 

Chapel Hill, Oct. 14, 1856. 

Dear Sir: 

I am glad that the Executive Committee did not yield to a popu- 
lar clamor and remove me from my station here. For I believe that 
if I can have a full and fair hearing before the Trustees, the answer 
implied in the resolutions which you passed will be found to be more 
than my offence merited, though as matters now stand it was as 
little as I could expect. 

No one more than myself acknowledges the justness and propriety 
of the usage which prohibits members of the faculty from agitating 
topics relating to party politics. But there are times when it seems 
the usage may be disregarded. In fact about eight years ago one of 
the ablest and most learned professors in the University thought it 
incumbent upon himself to define his position upon the slavery ques- 
tion. But the principal circumstances which I would plead in extenua- 
tion of this breach of well known usage is the manner in which I 
was attacked. If members of the Faculty have their hands tied they 
should be shielded from assault. I am a citizen of the State, a native 
if there is any merit in that, and have always endeavored to be a 
faithful law abiding member of the community. But all at once I am 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick 31 

assailed as an outlaw, a traitor, as a person fit to be driven from the 
State by mob violence, one whom every good citizen was bound to cast 
out by fair means or foul. This was more than I could bear. It seemed 
to me that I ought to resent it as a tyrannical interference with the 
rights of private opinion. So that in judging my case, it will be neces- 
sary to bear in mind the gross insults contained in "the charges 
brought against me in the Standard." What I had said here about 
voting for Fremont amounted to almost nothing, as no one expected 
an attempt to form an electoral ticket would be made. In fact I 
heard an influential citizen say that he would vote for Fremont himself 
if he thought that the electing him would bring about a dissolution 
of the Union, whilst I would vote for him to make the Union stronger. 

But the state of the case which comes home to the Trustees more 
directly than any other is the influence of my course will have upon 
the prosperity of the University. My own opinion is that if the news- 
papers will let the matter rest it will soon be forgotten. The election 
will soon be over, one of the candidates will probably be elected, and 
the others will soon cease to be talked of. What I said about slavery 
is neither fanatical, incendiary nor inflammatory. I have never held 
abolitionist views. If my reasons for keeping the increase of the 
slave population at home are good, of course no one will blame me for 
setting them forth. If my reasons are unsound I have erred in a 
question upon which there has always been, and probably always will 
be, an honest difference of opinion among thinking men. It is only 
a short time since I saw an article in a Virginia paper denouncing 
Professor Bledsoe of the University of Virginia, because he admitted 
in his book on Liberty and Slavery, that the interests and prosperity 
of the Territories where slavery does not exist, might be best advanced 
by excluding it. But for that opinion he was not treated as an outlaw, 
nor any attempt made to drive him from his Chair. 

But I am not disposed to find fault with the action of the Trustees. 
Some of the newspapers are pretending that I am only wishing to be 
dismissed in order to attain to profitable martyrdom. If I were base 
enough to resort to such a miserable trick my denying the charge 
would go for nothing. I do not believe however that any such charge 
will be made by anyone at all acquainted with the circumstances which 
placed me in my present position. I had not sought the election from 
the Trustees, and yet the appointment was most acceptable to me. 
When I graduated T took a subordinate position in one of the Scien- 
tific offices of the General Government, a place not at all subject to 
the proscriptions of party. My services were so far acceptable that I 
was promoted at the end of the first year, and at the time I resigned 
my position my salary was equal to that offered me by the Trustees. 
It was against the advice of some of my best friends that I made the 
exchange. I have always acted on the principle that a good citizen 
will serve his native State in preference to any other. And I thought 
the situation offered me by the Trustees was one in which I might 
find honorable and useful employment, and at the same time do some- 
thing for the good of my native State. Whether my labors here have 
been successful T will leave for others to determine. In coming here 
T sacrificed all other prospects. I have been here only long enough to 
begin to take root, and to be driven out now when I have just fairly 
started seems hard. But I will not ask anything unreasonable from 

32 Jamev Sprunt Historical Monograph 

the Trustees. It is well known that my chair does not belong to the 
regular Academic course. My students are, first, those who enter for a 
scientific course. Of these I have had fourteen during the present ses- 
sion. Second, the regular academic students are during the Senior 
year permitted to substitute studies in my department for the regular 
course. Forty-four students have during this session "elected" studies 
in my department. If any one therefore is afraid for his son to recite 
to me, he has but to say that he wishes for him to take the "old course" 
in the Senior year. 

As I said before, I believe that all the trouble about politics will 
soon pass over. If it does not and it is apparent that my usefulness 
is lost or greatly impaired I will not ask to be retained any longer. 
The "scientific school" is a venture in which I have staked a great 
deal, and therefore respectfully ask that whatever final action the 
Board may take that they would act with caution and deliberation. 
For my own part I am sorry that I have been the occasion of trouble 
to the Committee. But I hope that when they come to know me better 
they will find me to be one not deserving to be driven from the State 
by hue and cry. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

B. S. Hedrick. 
Hon. Charles Manly, 

Sec. of the Board of Trustees 
of the University of N. C. 
The pressure upon the Trustees grew from day to day and 

finally became so great that <m October 18, the Executive Com- 
mittee met again. The action taken by them was in excess of 

their legal powers as can be seen from the letter of President 
Swain ((noted above. 

The following is the record of the meeting: 

Raleigh, October 18, 1856. 

Executive Committee met. Present: His Excellency, Gov. Bragg, 
Pres.; John H. Bryan, Dan. W. Courts, Charles L. Hinton, Bat. F. 
Moore, R. M. Saunders. 

Judge Saunders presented the following resolutions which were read 
and adopted: 

Whereas, Professor B. S. Hedrick seems disposed to respect neither 
the opinions of the Faculty nor the Trustees of the University but per- 
sists in retaining his situation to the manifest injury of the University. 

Resolved, That for the causes set forth by this Committee on the 
11th inst., he, the said Benj. S. Hedrick, be and is hereby dismissed 
as a Professor in the University and the Professorship which he now 
fills is hereby declared to be vacant. 

Resolved, That he be paid his full salary to the close of the present 

Resolved, That the Secretary notify him of this decision. 

Committee adjourned. 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick 33 

The result was communicated to President Swain by Charles 
Manly in the following letter : 

Charles Manly to David Lowrie Swain. 

Raleigh, Oct. 18, 1856. 
My dear Governor: 

1 send you herewith a copy of Minutes of Executive Committee of 
this day 
« ****** 

As to Hedrick, he is beheaded. I read your letter to the Committee 
on their power to dismiss. But to no purpose. The "outside pressure" 
was too great. Sundry letters had come up from Trustees (from Col. 
Steele among others) a public meeting held (I think) in Murfreesboro 
and the Southern press all demanding his instant removal, the Com- 
mittee determined to take the responsibility. Saunder's Reson. was a 
long and violent one, mixed up with politics; we finally got it down to 
what it is. Moreover, it was stated that certain students who were 
here during the Fair declared that the danger of a College riot was 
imminent; that they were only waiting to see what the Executive Com- 
mittee would do; and if they passed it over that violence and blood- 
shed would ensue. I placed very little confidence myself in this story. 

Please notify Mr. Hedrick of the decision. 

Yours truly, 

Chas. Manlt. 

Hon. D. L. Swain, Chapel Hill. 

The Standard's comment was as follows: 

Mr. Hedrick. — We learn that at a meeting of the Executive Commit' 
tee of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina, held 
on Saturday last, it was resolved that Mr. Hedrick has ceased to be 
useful as a professor in the University; and the Secretary was directed 
to inform him of the fact. It is expected that, as a matter of course, 
he will at once resign. Should he refuse to do so, however, we have 
do doubt he will be removed. 

Mr. Hedrick Dismissed* 

We learn that at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the 
Board of Trustees, held at the Governor's office on Saturday last, Mr. 
Hedrick was unanimously dismissed from his place as a professor in 
the University of this State. 

We make this announcement with much gratification, though we felt 
sure from the fiist that such would be the action of the Executive 

We have received a number of communications on the subject, and 
several from the Trustees of the University, the publication of which 
has been rendered unnecessary by this action of the Committee. 

Mr. Black Republican Hedrick may now turn for consolation and 
support to his abolition brethren of the free States. His whole conduct 
in this matter has been not only in direct opposition to the best inter- 
ests of the University, but it is marked with the grossest ingratitude; 
and he has shown, by holding on to his place after he had been notified 
that his usefulness was gone, that he is insensible to tb.pse impulses 

•Standard, October 22, 1856. 

34 James Sprunt Historical Monograph 

and considerations which never fail to operate on a high-toned and 
honorable man. Informed that he had ceased to be useful, he begged 
for time, and at last had to be dismissed! Mr. Hedrick, we believe, is 
a beneficiary of the University; and he was sent to Cambridge on a 
salary, and sustained there while acquiring and perfecting his knowl- 
edge in Agricultural Chemistry. Warmed into life on the hearthstone 
of the University, the viper turned upon his Alma Mater and upon the 
State of his nativity with his envenomed fangs. But he has been cast 
out, and is now powerless for evil. If the abolitionists should take 
him up, the history of his conduct here will follow him; and they will 
know, as he will feel, that they have received to their bosom a danger- 
ous, but congenial and ungrateful thing. 
Later press comments are interesting : 
For the Register* 

Mr. Editor: — In that delectable sheet, the Raleigh Standard, of the 
8th of October, we find the following paragraph in reference to the 
letter of Prof. Hedrick, of the University of North Carolina, on his 
preference for Mr. Fremont for the Presidency. I will not attempt a 
justification of the position of the mutton-beaded Professor on the 
subject of the Presidency; far be it from me. If I were to venture an 
opinion on the subject, it would be that the Professor evinced more 
zeal than judgmeni on the subject, and tbat the Lunatic Asylum might 
become a fit receptacle for all such characters, if, upon examination, 
they sbould be found to be monomaniacs on the subject of the Presi- 

And judging from the dictatorial tone of the great Mogul of public 
opinion, as expressed in the North Carolina Standard, I would not be 
surprised if the astute Editor himself was not a little demented on the 
same subject. 

But to the paragraph in question: "We," says the Standard man, 
"adhere to our opinion recently expressed in the Standard. The ex- 
pression of Black Republicanism in our midst is incompatible with our 
honor or safety as a people; that no man is a fit or safe instructor of 
our young men who even inclines to Fremont or Black Republicanism." 

Not content with an expression of opinion, as he had a right to 
on that subject, and let it pass for what it was worth before the 
public; but the august personage presumes to dictate to the Trustees 
of the University their duty. For, says he, "we take it for granted 
that Professor Hedrick will be promptly removed." What consummate 
presumption! What arrogance, that W. W. Holden and Co., the smallest 
of the small of the race of gentlemen, should presume to dictate to a 
body of honorable, high-minded gentlemen, in an official capacity as 
Trustees of the University, their duty in reference to a matter that 
would be too low a stoop for a scavenger to condescend to. If Professor 
Hedrick is a gentleman and finds his presence or opinions are obnoxious 
either to the Professors, with whom he is associated, or to the Trustees 
of the University, he will forthwith resign. But for the Trustees to 
be called upon to ostracise a man for the expression of an honest opin- 
ion is more than ever entered the head of any gentlemen of liberal 
views, who appreciates honesty either in word, thought or deed; and 
that, too, simply because the unfortunate Professor savours a little or 
too much (as the Standard man supposes) of Abolitionism. Now, let me 

•Raleigh Register, October 22, 1856. 

Benjamin Sheruood Hedrick. 35 

ask, in all sincerity, what is the difference between teaching the same 
principle under difteient names if the effect when produced, is the same, 
whether it be under Fremontism or Buchananism. That Fremont is a 
wool-dyed Democrat abolitionist none will deny, and if I can prove from 
the political record of James Buchanan that he entertains views and 
opinions as obnoxious to the institutions of the South, the stability 
and perpetuity of this Union, Professor Hedrick at least will have the 
gratification to know that he is not alone in his views, on this vexed 
question. Let us now appeal to the law and the testimony in estab- 
lishing the guilt or innocence of the Democratic party and Mr. Buchanan, 
their candidate for the Presidency. 

Middle Creek, Johnston Co., Oct. 17, 1856. 

Mr. Hedrick Again* 

We are informed by a friend, who deeply regrets and strongly dis- 
approves Mr. Hedrick's conduct, that we are mistaken in our belief, 
expressed in our last, that he was a beneficiary of the University. We 
learn that he was in early life an apprentice to the trade of a brick- 
mason; and that his father, having given him his choice of an educa- 
tion or his portion of his estate at his death, he chose an education, 
and thus paid his own way at the University. We learn also, that while 
at Cambridge he was sustained, not by the University, but by an office 
bestowed upon him by Gov. Graham, Secretary of the Navy at the time. 

We make these corrections cheerfully, as certainly we have no dis- 
position to do injustice to, of to trample on, a prostrate adversary. His 
punishment is great enough, without the aggravation of unjust accu- 

Some of the Know Nothing presses have referred to the fact that Mr. 
Hednck was a Democrat. We knew that he had voted in August last 
for the Democratic ticket; and he has been for some time a subscriber 
to our semi-weekly paper. But what of that? Party is but "as small 
dust in the balance" when weighed against the honor and vital interests 
of North Carolina. He professed to be a Democrat; for Democracy main- 
tains the equal rights of the State in the common Territories, and is 
the only great barrier in the way of the triumph of black Republicanism. 

Not the very least of the evils connected with Mr. Hedrick's conduct, 
was the dragging before the public a body of men — his associate 
Professors — to whom publicity is distasteful and unpleasant, if obtained 
elsewhere than in the pulpit and lecture room. He was solemnly ad- 
monished that he had no right to do this; yet here, as elsewhere, advice 
was disregarded. Nevertheless, the University has not been injured. 
On the contrary, it has been strengthened, if possible, in the confidence 
and respect of the Trustees and of the people of the State — strength- 
ened, by the prompt action of the Faculty and of the Executive Com- 
mittee. We say this as a citizen of the State and as a friend of the 
University — not as its champion or peculiar defender, for far be it from 
us to thrust ourselves forward in any other capacity than that of a 
friend to it, interested alike with all the people of the State in main- 
taining its high character, and in laboring, as best we may, to widen 
and enlarge the sphere of its usefulness. What we have done in this 
matter has been done solely from convictions of public duty; and these 
latter remarks are submitted, not as the result of suggesti<™ a from any 

•Standard, October 29, ISiia, 

36 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

quarter — for none have been made — but in justice to ourselves and to 
the course we have deemed it our duty to pursue. 

Mr. Hedrick* 

Mr. Hedrick, it seems, attended the State Educational Convention 
at Salisbury; but he was soon given to understand that his presence 
there would not be tolerated. The Salisbury Watchman says: 

"Professor Hedrick was also in attendance on the first night of the 
Convention. He had been appointed by the senatus consultus of our 
University before his very extraordinary demonstration in politics. 
His appearance there was very embarrassing to many of the assemblage, 
and it is probable that some expression of disapprobation would have 
been called for if he had again attended the sessions; but a small crowd 
of beardless patriots took the thing in hand and saved the Convention 
all trouble on that score. By dint of a stuffed effigy, made of rags, 
which they hung before the door of the building, bedizzened with sig- 
nificant inscriptions, and by dint of cow-bells, tin-pans, and muttered 
threats of further visitations, this simpleton of a Professor, between 
the going down of the sun and the rising thereof, had quite absqualated; 
or as one of his own Fresh would be apt to say, "Abitt, excesitt, evasit, 

The Salisbury Herald says: 

"No sooner had the Convention assembled in the Presbyterian 
Church, on Tuesday night, than a rumor got afloat among the outsiders 
that Professor Hedrick, of the N. C. University, was in the Convention, 
either as a regularly drafted or as a volunteered delegate from the Uni- 
versity. Crowds flocked in and around the door for the purpose of be- 
holding the grim visage of the man who dared, on Carolina's soil, 
to publicly announce himself in favor of Fremont. Many a long and 
eager look was taken before a way was made for the next advancing 
corps, while ever and anon, some stripling who had never read the 
Standard, would worm 'his way into the thickest of the ranks, and call 
aloud to some older and wiser friend to point out to him John C. 
Fremont. Hedrick was soon known to all the elders, — the Juniors 
gazed as they supposed, upon Fremont, and thought he was "a dreadful 
little man to be the President." Meanwhile the cries of "Hedrick," 
"Fremont," and other expressions evinced that all was not right, and 
he began to conceal his face partly by the aid of his cloak, and manifest 
other not less symptoms of alarm. What were his feelings and his 
agony we know not; but leave him muffled in his cloak, listening to the 
call of the roll and the organization of the Convention, while we de- 
seribe the outdoor arrangements. 

"Near the centre of the street facing the door of the said Church, an 
effigy was raised in honor of the Professor, and they named it Hedrick. 
In front of the effigy was a transparency bearing the inscription— 
Hedrick, leave or tar and feathers. So soon as the Convention was 
adjourned it was set on fire; and being composed of very combustible 
material, well saturated with spirits of turpentine, it required but a 
few moments to tell the sad tale of its ethereal and everlasting depar- 
ture from this howling wilderness. Three groans for Hedrick, and all 
was over — the effigy was gone. He was followed by the crowd, 
some two or three hundred in number, to the house in which he lodged, 

•standard, November 1, 1S56. 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 37 

where he was serenaded in "Calithumpian style." Three groans were 
ever and anon repeated, and the Professor ordered to leave without 
delay, or be subjected to an application of "juice of the pine and the 
hair of the goose." But for a faithful promise on the part of the 
Professor such would have been his lot. But before sunrise he was 
gone, we suppose never more to return. May our town never be visited 
with such another manifestation of indignation on the part of the citi- 
zens of the town and county. The circumstances and its origin are the 
more remarkable from the fact, that the Professor was raised in this 
community, and that his father is now a citizen of this county. We 
pity the man for his indiscretion and folly for having laid himself 
liable to the public indignation of those who were once his neighbors 
and friends." sr 

We learn that Mr. Hedrick passed through this City on Thursday 
last, on his way North. 

Mr. Hedrick Once ALore* 

In an article on the dismissal of Prof. Hedrick published in the 
Standard of the 22d inst.., the writer says: "Mr. Hedrick, we believe, is 
a beneficiary of the University, and he was sent to* Cambridge on a 
salary, and sustained there while perfecting his knowledge in agricul- 
tural chemistry; " and on the strength of these statements, Mr. Hedrick 
is charged with "the grossest ingratitude." The writer of that article 
was doubtless misinformed. The statements, above quoted, are not 
true, and the charge of "ingratitude" therefore fails. Enough indeed, 
has been said of late against Mr. Hedrick to make it unnecessary to 
einploy v allegations of doubtful, or of no authority. 

The fact is that Mr. Hedrick was never in any sense "a beneficiary 
of the University." All his College bills, from the beginning to the 
end of his College life, were duly paid by his father. The University 
has not, and has never had any claim on him on that score, other than 
it has on all who have ever enjoyed the advantages of an education 
there. Neither was he "sent to Cambridge on a salary" by the Univer- 
sity, as is implied, or by any person connected with it. The facts are 
these: that about the time when Mr. Hedrick was graduated, the 
President of the University received from the then Secretary of the 
Navy a suggestion that a subordinate place in one of the scientific bu- 
reaus, connected with his department, was then vacant, and asking if 
there was among the recent graduates a good mathematician, compe- 
tent to fill it. Mr. Hedrick received the nomination of the Faculty, 
and was appointed by the department, and ordered to reside in Cam- 
bndge. During the whole time of his residence there, he was support- 
ed by the salary which he earned from the U. S. government, and never 
received a dollar from the treasury of the University until he had ac- 
tually entered on the discharge of his duties there, as Professor of Agri- 
cultural Chemistry, it may be added that the salary which he received 
at Cambridge was precisely the same as the one offered him when he 
was called to Chapel Hill, so that he could have hoped to gain by the 
change nothing more than the pleasure of making his home in hia 
native State. 

The writer of these lines is in a condition to know the truth of 
the matters whereof he affirms, and could easily demonstrate it to one 

♦Standard, November 5, 1856. 

38 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

who would take a little trouble in the investigation. He may be al- 
lowed to express the hope that those who are inclined to speak or 
think ill of Mr. Hedrick, will do so only on clear evidence, and after 
some examination. 

The above communication was received in time, and should have 
appeared in our last, but was unavoidably crowded out. It is from a 
highly respectable source, and we cheerfully insert it. 

A writer in the last Register, after correcting some of the mistakes 
into which the Standard had fallen, and which the Standard itself 
had promptly corrected says: 

"It is due to the Standard to say that in its last issue the two 
above statements are withdrawn, but it also contains allegations which 
are no less erroneous." 

"Mr. Hedrick never was in early life nor at any time, an appren- 
tice to the trade of a brick-mason or of any other trade. 

"His lather never gave him his choice of an education or his portion 
of his estate at his death." 

It is due to the Standard to state, that the "allegations" here charac- 
terized as "erroneous" were made on unquestionable authority; which 
authority could be given, if at all necessary. They were made as a 
portion of the matter, the publication of which we deemed an act 
of justice to Mr. Hedrick — but surely they are most material statements. 
They amount to nothing if he had been apprenticed "to the trade of a 
brick-mason," and had learned and followed that trade. He might 
have been saved from the perils ol that "much learning," and from that 
contact with abolitionism at Cambridge, which in his case has certainly 
produced "madness." But true men have gone through that contact, 
and have come out of it pure gold, because their hearts were right, and 
because they regarded tbe obligations of a Constitutional Union, and 
not tbe claims of sectionalism and the promptings of a sickly sentimen- 
tality. Our correspondent "An Alumnus," was at Cambridge, if we are 
not mistaken, when Judge Loring, one of the professors in the College, 
was removed by an abolition Legislature for having acted as United 
States' Commissioner, under a Constitutional law — the fugitive-slave 
law; and he forthwith left the institution and returned home, on ac- 
count of that high-handed measure in relation to Judge Loring. 

But we have no disposition to dwell upon this matter; nor is it our 
wish to do any man injustice. We have already been chided by some of 
our friends, for allowing Mr. Hedrick a hearing in our columns. But 
he was called out by our correspondent — he was struck — he spoke for 
himself, and as he spoke no sedition, we gave him a hearing. On strict 
principles of justice as between man and man, we did right; but we 
knew, furthermore, that if refused a hearing here, he would have gone 
into Northern Journals, and a great cry would have been raised that 
the South had denied him freedom of speech. As it is, he was removed 
from his place, as we understand it, not because he had avowed himself 
for a geographical, disunion candidate for the Presidency, but because, 
having taken part publicly in politics, he had ceased to be useful as a 
Professor; and this part in politics he took by the publication of his 
so-called "Defence" in the Standard. That publication, therefore, was 
the cause of his removal. 

Our correspondent expresses the "hope that those who are inclined 
to speak or think ill of Mr. Hedrick, will do so only on clear evidence, 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 39 

and after some examination." We concur with him. We thought we 
had "clear evidence" — but when informed to the contrary, we were 
prompt to make the correction. That was all we could do. We are not 
only "inclined to speak ill" of Mr. Hedrick, but we denounce him as an 
enemy to North Carolina, to the Union of the States, and to the best 
hopes of man. We have aided to magnify him somewhat in the public 
eye, but that was one of the unavoidable incidents, and not the object. 
Our object was to rid the University and the State of an avowed Fre- 
mont man; and we have succeeded. And we now say, after due consid- 
eration, but with no purpose to make any special application of the 
remark, that no man who is avowedly for John C. Fremont for Pres- 
ident, ought to be allowed to breathe the air or to tread the soil of 
North Carolina. * . 

While on this subject, we make the following extract from a letter 
recently received from one of the most intelligent and substantial gen- 
tlemen of Eastern Carolina, written before he had heard of Mr. Hed- 
rick's removal: 

"The people of our State and of the South owe you a debt of grati- 
tude, for bringing to public notice the abolition principles of one of 
our Professors at the University, Mr. Hedrick. The admirable manner 
in which you have handled him — giving him a hearing without stop- 
ping to argue with him, and then holding him up to public contempt 
•and scorn — will doubtless meet the approbation of every patron of the 
institution. You assure your readers that he will be removed, if he 
does not resign. I hope this may be the case. If, however, he does 
not leave the College, I shall feel it to be my duty to withdraw my son, 
at the close of the present session, from any contact with the foul 

Mr. Black Republican Hedrick* 

This person, we understand, was in this city on Thursday last. 

The press of the State has, with one voice, condemned his conduct, 
and expressed a wish for his dismissal. The abolition press of the 
free States is rejoicing over his treason to his section and to the Con- 

The last Wilmington Commercial says: 

"The press of this State is making quite a 'lion' of one Mr. Hedrick, 
a teacher in our University, who has owned himself a black repub- 
lican. There is a disputation about whether he was a democrat 
or not in former times. This question is of no importance. What 
he is now is the inquiry, and he is certainly neither a democrat nor a 
whig. We do not see what can be done, unless the Faculty choose to 
send the fellow about his business as a mischief maker in a small 
way, and let him take up his bed and board with the northern enemies 
of the South and her institutions." 

Mr. Hedrick took his rlipnrrifsa] in a manly fashion as is indi- 
cated by the two letters which follow: 

B. S. Hedrick to Charles Manly. 

Chapel Hill, Oct. 28, 1856. 
Gov. Manly, 

Dear Sir: — Accompanying this I send you a letter which I wrote be- 
•Weekly North Carolina Standard, October 22, 185?. 

40 James Sprunt Historical Monograph 

fore visiting you in Raleigh. I believe that I mentioned to you the fact that 
I had written it; certainly I mentioned it to some of the Board. When 
I came home from the Fair it was too late to send it during that week, 
and the speedy action of your Committee left no place for it afterwards. 
I send it to you now and for your private reading, and as giving me 
an opportunity to thank you for the uniform kindness you have al- 
ways shown me. I would send it to the Committee as I at first in- 
tended, but for fear that it might come to tfolden and thus give him 
another opportunity of accusing me of "begging." 

By Holden's having access to everything the Committee did, your 
first resolutions came to me in pretty much this shape, "Resign or be 
damned," and that is what Holden calls occupying a "delicate posi- 
tion!" very delicate indeed!! Something like giving you a delicate 
hint to leave by kicking you down stairs. I am sorry some members 
of your Board have such fine perception of delicacy. 

I thank you again for all your kindness. You helped cut off my 
head but I know you made the blow fall as light as you could. 
Truly and sincerely yours, 

B. S. Hedbick. 
B. S. Hedrick to Charles Manly. 

New York City, March 21, 1857. 
Dear Sir: 

Before the Executive Committee voted to turn me out of the Uni- 
versity Gov. Swain wrote to them quite a long letter, in the shape of 
a legal opinion, in which he argued (and I think proved) that the 
Executive Committee had no power to remove any professor, such 
power belonging only to the trustees, and only to be exercised at the 
annual meeting. Now, although this letter of Gov. S's was 
altogether powerless with the Committee, still as part of the proceed- 
ings I wish to keep correct copy — in fact it is due to Gov. S. that 
he should stand correct on the record when the history of that dis- 
graceful affair is written. And I think I also have a claim to its pos- 
session. There are a few other "documents" that I would be glad to 
have, but fear that 1 am already troubling you too much. 

With high regards and many thanks for your uniform kindness, 
I am Yours truly, 

B. S. Hedrick. 
Hon. Chas. Manly, Raleigh, N. C. 
This request was refused by Manly as is shown by the endorse- 
ment upon the letter in his writing. From the same source it 
is learned that the Trustees at their meeting of January 5, 
1857 confirmed the action of the Executive Committee. 

Mr. Hedrick bore no malice against his colleagues and seems 
to have realized that even the Trustees could scarcely have 
avoided their action. Nor was his devotion to his native State 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 41 

altered. But his opposition to slavery was greatly strengthened 
and he left the State with a hatred of Mr. Holden that was 

Kemaining in the North for a few months, he returned to the 
State early in 1857 for a short stay. He then went to New 
York City where he obtained a clerkship in the Mayor's office. 
He also employed himself with lecturing and teaching. In 1861 
he become an examiner in the Patent Office, as chief of the 
division of chemistry, metallurgy, and electricity. Later he was 
general chemical examiner. Here he was successful in institut- 
ing a number of needed reforms. 

In 1865 Mr. Hedrick was very close to President Johnson 
and was active in attempting to secure the speedy restoration 
of North Carolina to the Union. He believed that negro suf- 
frage would be demanded by the North and was very anxious 
that the State should accept it as gracefully and speedily as 
possible for reasons of policy. In other respects he was in full 
accord with the dominant sentiment in the State. He was a close 
friend of Governor Jonathan Worth and his activity in behalf 
of the State during "Worth's administration was unceasing as is 
shown by their correspondence. 

The foreging incident shows very plainly the effect of slavery 
upon free thought and free speech. Mr. Hedrick was a martyr 
for opinion's sake, though without any desire to occupy that 
position. Under existing circumstances, it was inevitable that 
his dismissal should take place, and, accepting conditions, the 
Trustees could scarcely be blamed for terminating his connec- 
tion with the University. As Dr. Charles Phillips, a great 
friend of Hedrick said, ''I take it as an axiom that when we 
wish to work for the people for the people's good, we are bound 
to consider their characteristics and not arouse their prejudices 
unnecessary, else they won't let us work for them." But his 
summary dismissal by the Executive Committee, without legal 
authority was unwarranted and is a fit cause for condemnation. 

Time has proved that Mr. Hedrick 's view of slavery was cor- 

42 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

rect and it is a cause for congratulation that its abolition put 
an end to the possibility of such persecution for opinion's sake, 
and has enabled the State and the University to recognize the 
worth and merit of a worthy son. 

J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton